Hudak: No Substantial Discord on 2017 EU Budget

Slovak Government's proxy for negotiations on the EU budget Vazil Hudak. (Photo by TASR)

Brussels, September 7 (TASR-correspondent) – The first round of talks on the 2017 EU budget last week wasn’t easy, but there seem to be no substantial areas of discord that could prevent the budget from being passed by year-end, Slovak Government’s proxy for negotiations on the EU budget Vazil Hudak told TASR on Wednesday.

Presenting a draft of the 2017 budget is one of the key tasks for the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. Hudak, economy minister 2015-16, is now looking ahead to a series of talks with representatives of the European Commission and European Parliament in order to reach an agreement on a common draft, which should then be debated by ECOFIN in November.

The budget priorities include, according to Hudak, support for economic growth and competitiveness, dealing with the migration crisis and ensuring the external and internal security of the Union. All these priorities must be brought into sync with the multi-year financial framework (2014-20), however.

Meanwhile, a two-day conference on the EU’s own funding resources began in Brussels on Wednesday. One of the options of new incomes could be introducing fees for entering the EU via an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), as currently used by the United States, said Hudak. This system will both bring money to the EU budget, and it would also contribute towards increasing the EU’s security, believes Hudak.

The EU budget should also be debated at the informal EU summit in Bratislava on September 16.